The question…would St. Valentine still give his life today?

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is,
than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

We’re off to celebrate a certain Mayor’s 2nd birthday.
Birthday on Monday.
Party on Saturday.

But before we get to birthday celebrations, we need to remember the day of all things Amore…
Yes, Dean Martin is indeed crooning in the background…

I wanted to stop long enough to consider the real person of Saint Valentine.

A Christian martyr versus the modern-day commercialized king of roses,
chocolate, and amore.

I caught this great piece yesterday on the Federalist regarding the life of the real
St. Valentine along with the story of his martyrdom.
The question posed was what might be St. Valentine’s thoughts regarding
today’s modern 21st century’s concept of marriage…?
Would he still sacrifice his life for today’s shifting thoughts on marriage?

Because that’s what St. Valentine did—he gave his life over to martyrdom for
performing Christian marriages— of which ran counter to the pagan thoughts of
marriage throughout Imperial Rome.
He would not bow to Ceaser nor Rome’s pagan gods.

This is a great piece—so please enjoy.
And just remember…there actually remains a real-life story…one of true agape love
which lies buried beneath those roses, chocolates and special romantic
dinners out.

Now off for the Mayorial celebrations!

Would Saint Valentine Be A Christian Martyr For Marriage Again Today?
We can especially feel an intense hostility towards the very idea of marriage that
Saint Valentine represented: the union of one man and one woman, centered on Christ,
and loyal until death.

One of the many legends about Saint Valentine is that he was a Christian priest martyred
by Roman authorities for secretly performing Christian marriages.
We used to think of Saint Valentine as the good guy in that scenario.
Today?
Not so much maybe, given the hostility towards the idea of Christian
marriage in our culture.

Saint Valentine would have committed a double offense by the time he was beheaded
in 270 A.D.
First, he defied Emperor Claudius II’s ban on marriage, a ban intended to create a
larger pool of effective soldiers by preventing young men from becoming attached to wives and families.
Second, as a Christian, Saint Valentine would have refused to bow down to false gods and the state,
and taught his brethren likewise.

The custom of burning incense to the pagan gods and to Caesar would have violated
the conscience of any devout Christian because it would be a public betrayal and rejection of Christ.
In addition, incense is significant in worship.

When the custom was in force, the authorities didn’t actually require anyone to
believe in the gods, but simply to go through the motions.
They thought it was no big deal. But it was a very big deal,
because the point was to enforce conformity and capture people’s consciences.

That’s not to say Christians uniformly resisted. Most likely obeyed,
while those who resisted were persecuted, even put to death.
Needless to say, this caused some division among Christians.

Christians during the great persecutions had a special example of
steadfastness in Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was 86 when he was arrested
and martyred around the year 155. According to tradition, when brought to judgment,
the Roman proconsul was astonished to see in Saint Polycarp a venerable old man
he did not want to execute.

So he offered him what he thought was a generous out: if Polycarp would just
toss a teensy pinch of incense (not even noticeable) to Caesar, then he would be set free.
Of course, Polycarp would have none of that. So he was burned alive instead.
Sacrificial Love versus Shiny Object Love

There are plenty of other legends about Valentine and other saints.
The point is that Valentine’s Day originated as a celebration of the sacrificial love
upon which Christian marriage is based. To “be true” is to be willing to make the
ultimate sacrifice for someone, and to proclaim that love for better or for worse, until death.

Valentine’s Day is still filled with beautiful traditions, such as exchanging
heartfelt notes of love and gifts to those we care about.
Who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of roses and the deliciousness of chocolate?
Commercialization is a given, and often a testament to things we love anyway.

But in many ways Valentine’s Day got hijacked by the shiny objects offered by
the sexual revolution: self-gratification, “free love,” etc. For many, sexual attraction
or hooking up is the only reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Self-sacrifice?
What’s that?
Sacrificial love doesn’t sell.
Often people seek out others who practice it because they prefer not to practice
it themselves.
Funny how that works.

By 1998, Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues” decided to dub the day “V-Day,”
which she said stood for “Victory, Valentine, and Vagina.”
Well, not much love and sacrifice there. V-Day is still around, with the
mission of raising awareness of violence against women, “both cis and trans.”
(Since 1998, of course, the V-Day folks discovered that “men can have vaginas.”)

In any case, the V-Day project represents a trend that seeks to separate men and women—
on Valentine’s Day.
Such separation is the end result of the sexual revolution.
After all, the push to legally abolish all sex distinctions is nihilistic,
especially towards marriage.
Hostility Toward Christian Marriage

As V-Day plods its cheerless way onward, we seem to be witnessing a revolve back
in the direction of persecution. First, there was a celebration of Saint Valentine
and sacrificial love, particularly in Christian marriage.
Then the predictable focus on romantic love, much of it in the Victorian era
that popularized the sending of Valentine cards.

With the sexual revolution, we get a more direct focus on sex as the centerpiece
of the festivities.
Predictably, the sexual revolution then spawned resentment rather than love,
now by using the day to raise awareness of wife-beating and other forms of
violence against women.

We can especially feel an intense hostility towards the very idea of marriage that
Saint Valentine represented: the union of one man and one woman, centered on Christ,
and loyal until death. His crime was to bring a man and a woman together while
the state meant to keep them apart.
The marriages he performed were anathema both to Roman imperialism and to
today’s worship of hook-up culture, adultery, divorce, and abortion,
all celebrated in the media and pop culture.

The hostility runs so deep that Christians today are told they must pay homage
to same-sex unions or else lose their livelihoods. It is not only happening in the wedding industry,
as florist Baronelle Stutzman and baker Jack Phillips can attest.
It is happening in all of society’s institutions.

This hostility against the timeless understanding of marriage as the union
of one man and one woman runs so deep that it is a heresy being forced into the
churches themselves, often through evangelical defectors, such as Joshua Harris and David Gushee.
Gushee uses his title as an evangelical ethicist to warn other Christians that if
they don’t follow the LGBT agenda, they’ll be rightfully smeared as bigots.

In a 2016 op-ed, he warned: “Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance.
Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.”
(That goes for you too, Saint Valentine!)
This sounds like a recipe for forced love, which is quite the opposite of love.
Anyway, for good measure, Gushee shared a laundry list of those who have signed on to
this manufactured, sold-and-bought zeitgeist:
corporate America, academia, psychologists, etc.

That’s been the basic idea behind political correctness all along:
deny your conscience, shut up, and publicly prostrate yourself before the elitists
who operate this zeitgeist machine. Otherwise, to the stake with you.

Devout Christians know, of course, that this is the same old stuff served up to their
forerunners when they were told to bow down to pagan gods.
Yes, bowing down to the pagan gods was popular all right, since the alternative,
as always, was to be smeared and skewered. Just call it “the right side of history”
and you’re good to go.

Yet even one person who does not betray conscience in the face of
such punishment can change the world by injecting some truth into it.
Perhaps that is why the enemies of free conscience are on a constant
search-and-destroy mission to “come and find you.”
But in the end, true sacrifice—the kind that comes without deep-pocketed
lobbying—can breed real love. And, as Saint Valentine showed, real love can’t be forced.

Stella Morabito is a senior contributor to The Federalist

https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/13/would-saint-valentine-be-a-christian-martyr-for-marriage-again-today/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=f80b93b154-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-f80b93b154-84149832

crisis of faith or living faith…a choice

In a speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2011, Benedict XVI
reflected that
“The essence of the crisis of the Chruch in Europe is the crisis of faith.
If we find no answer to this…then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”

The Day is Far Spent / Cardinal Sarah


(a lone turkey feather lost in the woods / Julie Cook / 2019)

When Joseph Ratzinger speaks about a “crisis of faith”,
we should understand that he is not talking in the first place about an
intellectual or theological problem in the academic sense of the word.
He means a “living faith”, a faith that imbues and transforms life.
“If faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength
from the encounter with Jesus Christ,” Benedict XVI added that day,
“then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”

This loss of the sense of faith is the deep root of the crisis of civilization
that we are experiencing.

As in the first centuries of Christianity, when the Roman Empire
was collapsing, all human institutions today sem to be on the
path of decadence.
Reflections between people, whether political, social, economic, or cultural,
are becoming difficult.
In losing the sense of God, we have undermined the foundation of all
human civilization and opened the door to totalitarian barbarity.

Human beings, separated from God, are reduced to a single dimension—
the horizontal—
and this reduction itself is one of the fundamental causes of the various forms
of totalitarianism that have had tragic consequences in the past century,
as well as the crisis of values that we see in the current situation.

By obscuring the reference to God the ethical horizon has also been obscured,
to leave room for relativism and for an ambiguous conception of
freedom which, instead of being liberating, ends by blinding
human beings to idols.

The temptation that Jesus faced in the wilderness before his public ministry
vividly symbolize which “idols” entice human beings when they do not
go beyond themselves.
Were God to lose his centrality man would lose his rightful place,
he would no longer fit into creation, into relations with others

Pope Benedict XVI
Nov 14, 2012

the frenzieness of our times

“Not Bolshevism, which Stalin liquidated along with all the old Bolsheviks;
not Nazism, which perished along with Hitler in his Berlin bunker; not Fascism,
which was left hanging upside down, along with Mussolini and his mistress,
from a lamp-post—none of these, history will record,
was responsible for bringing down the darkness on our civilization, but liberalism.
A solvent rather than a precipitate, a sedative rather than a stimulant,
a slough rather than a precipice, blurring the edges of truth,
the definition of virtue, the shape of beauty; a cracked bell, a mist,
a death wish.”

Malcolm Muggeridge, The Great Liberal Death Wish

the_man_in_the_high_castle
(Philip Dick’s 1962 Alternate History Novel)

According to Merriam-Webster the word Frenzy is defined as:

a: a temporary madness– a rage amounting to a frenzy
b: a violent mental or emotional agitation
2: intense usually wild and often disorderly compulsive or agitated activity

And according to Online Entomology Dictionary the word Frenzy first originated:
mid-14c.—delirium, insanity; from Old French frenesie; frenzy, madness (13c.),
from Medieval Latin phrenesia, from phrenesis, back-formation from Latin phreneticus
Meaning—excited state of mind; is from c. 1400

I always think it good form to know where such words come from when one currently
finds oneself living in the midst of said particular word.

As it seems… this current frenzied state, of which many Americans along with
their similarly bonded global brothers and sisters in arms,
is just about to tip us all as a human race over
the edge and down into the deep dark recesses of the bottomless nothingness of a
no return black hole.

I am still trying to make sense of what’s just taken place over the past couple of weeks…

From young children being interviewed in the streets after starting fires,
aiding and abetting anarchy over the election and subsequent inauguration of a president
of these United States while gleefully boasting to a reporter “screw the president”…

to women donning such apparel as “vagina” hats, and other vulgar attire, while carrying
Russian protest signs…

to “news” sources and agencies fraudulently and knowingly peddling false and unsubstantiated
stories as Gospel truth…

to Civil Rights legends confusing the fight for civil rights with the democratic process…

to infamous entertainers proclaiming, on a global platform, that they will burn down the
White House…

to confused actresses pulling out their best theatrical performances while channeling
their best Scarlett O’Hara impression in a sweeping diatribe about comparing
the United States of America’s president to Adolph Hitler….

hummmm…..

And it is to the latter that my thoughts remain.

What, if any, of the aforementioned lunacy is to be considered…
right,
prudent
or acceptable behavior…
is beyond my soul…

And it is to this troubling rhetoric,
rhetoric that I have heard over and over again in recent weeks,
this comparison to Hitler and the asinine notion that there is a rise of Nazism in America,
that has brought me to the point where I must not remain silent any longer.

One of the myriad inauguration protest march organizers, on the night of the
inauguration when interviewed,
told the interviewing reporter that at one of the balls taking place
she had seen the raised arms of Nazis hailing the new Führer.

Deadpan to the sardonic “Really??!!”

The rational part of me almost fell out of my chair when watching this woman being interviewed.

Yet it was also the rational part of myself that wanted to inform this young woman
that she had no idea as to what she was so ignorantly spewing out of her mouth to
this hungry for a story reporter…

As I am now left shaking my head over the constant cries of Nazis and
Hitler-like wannabes taking over America.
Shades of a War of the Worlds moment

In 1962 author Philip Dick wrote an alternativesque history novel based
on the notion of the what if scenario of Hitler and Nazi Germany actually
having been the victors of the war,
along with Japan,
as the United States and the Allied Forces were all defeated.

A fanciful story dipping deeply into an epitome of the ‘what ifs’…
had a world war turned out tragically and frighteningly differently.

Amazon Studios has in the last year or so turned this novel into a made for TV drama series.

I’m not keen on those ‘what if’ scenarios—
For the actual war and the reality of all that was and what happened to millions of people
over the course of the war…was horrific enough without having to reinvent it into a
made for TV melodrama…
Living, being maimed, tortured, raped, starved, tormented and dying was catastrophic
reality enough,
the metamorphosis into a current bizarre drama is far from warranted or even necessary
in my humble opinion.

And thus having many ill-informed, or more correctly, ignorant individuals daring to
make any correlation between Hitler,
along with his mad Nazi machine, and that of the democratic process
of this Republic nation is not only shameful but borders on the gravely and
recklessly irresponsible and is simply put, moralistically wrong.

Not to mention that it lessens and cheapens the true horrors that millions
of innocent individuals suffered.

Enough with the empty clamoring of stupidity, ignorance and deranged fanciful irrationalities…

Therefore rage not thou futile mortal man…
beating thy head against the empty idols
of your makings….

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun:
The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover,
are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live,
and afterward they join the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:3